Ridley’s Scott’s film ALIEN has been one of the most influential sci-fi horror films in history. The film has become a franchise spanning over six films and has expanded to comic books, original novels, and created its own toy industry that continues to thrive even to this day. Paul Scanlon & Michael Gross’ book The Book of ALIEN is a look at the making of the original film but functions more as a look at the artwork and concepts that brought the story to the big screen.
A lot of the actual written word in the book focuses on the decisions that lead to the final designs in the film but a majority of the book is consumed with artwork and concept drawings both of stuff used in the film and those items that never made it to the final phase of production or was edited out of the film. No item of production was over looked as you easily get the impression that the film was a huge under taking and that everything in the film was meticulously designed from the ground up.
When most people think about the ALIEN films one of the first names that come to mind is famed artist H.R. Giger which the book does devote some time to but the majority of the book doesn’t focus on him at all (as he was not the first person consulted for the film). The book spends a great deal on artists Ron Cobb & Chris Foss and art directors Roger Christian & Les Dilley not to mention production designer Michael Seymour, to name but a few. This book tries to give a grand overview of the art and design elements that went into the production of the film.
This book doesn’t go into much behind the scenes talk on the film but for people interested in knowing more about the pre-production phase of the making of the film there is a lot in this book for them. This is not an all encompassing book on the making of the film but it is a good starting off point for those interested in the art and design of the film.